'The Good Place,' Season 1 - TV Review

Our heroine is Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a woman who finds herself in the afterlife in "the good place," ie. not "the bad place." Trouble is - she knows very well she doesn't deserve to be here. She manages to rope in her "soul mate" Chidi (William Jackson Harper), a university ethics professor, to try and make her a good enough person that she deserves to be there. The other major characters are Michael (Ted Danson), the immortal architect of their neighbourhood of 200+ people, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jianyu (Manny Jacinto), their neighbours, and Janet (D'Arcy Carden) - who is the neighbourhood's semi-human Siri/Alexa equivalent.

Danson is hugely entertaining, both charming and neurotic. I particularly liked Harper as Chidi - perpetually in some form of horrible moral conundrum, usually as a result of Eleanor's actions. Bell is fairly good, but I was a bit frustrated by the back-and-forth nature of her behaviour: at the beginning of each episode she does, or plans to do, some morally inappropriate thing. Chidi struggles with her, she learns a lesson, and at the end of the episode she behaves better. But in the next episode she proposes some horrible behaviour all over again.

There are 13 episodes in the season, each 22 minutes long. My explanation above suggests they're all very formulaic, but they have a fair bit of variety to them and mostly remain quite entertaining - including, I might add, Chidi's philosophy/morality lessons which are oddly fascinating and add to the overall charm of the series.

The series will particularly appeal to fans of "Pushing Daisies:" both are absurdist, surreal fantasy comedies with a very similar mind-set.